Published: July 1, 2011
Updated: July 1, 2011
Sports hernia, or athletic pubalgia, is a lower abdominal or groin pain.
Sports hernia is caused by the repetitive stresses of certain sports on muscles in the lower abdominal wall. The condition occurs when muscles or tendons weaken in a thin region of the abdominal wall. Once overexerted or overused, a muscle tear occurs inside the groin.
Due to the anatomy of the lower abdominal musculature near the groin, the condition occurs almost exclusively in males.
The term "sports hernia” can be misleading since a true hernia is not present in most cases.
Symptoms include pain during hip extension, twisting, turning, and other sports-related movements, as well as stiffness following physical activity.
Because the pain tends to radiate through the abductor muscles and testicles, the exact location of the pain is difficult to pinpoint.
The actual cause of pain is not well understood but is probably the result of inflammation where the rectus abdominus muscle -- the most prominent abdominal muscle -- attaches to bone near the pubis (the anterior-most portion of the hip bones).
Diagnosis is based on the patient's history and clinical signs and symptoms. Your doctor will most likely conduct a physical examination of the groin area to rule out other conditions.
Conservative therapies like rest and gentle stretching may temporarily alleviate the pain, but surgical repair followed by rehabilitation is often necessary to repair torn muscle tissue.